Everyone’s New Favorite Trading Card (Simone Biles Edition)
Simone Biles. 25x World Champion Medalist. 23x Gold Medalist. Exclusive digital art creator. When one thinks of Biles, one might think of her as a 7x Olympic medalist or GOAT of gymnastics, but the idea of art does not come to mind. However, Simone Biles, like so many other celebrities, athletes, artists, and everyday people alike have been drawn to the shiny new elusive idea of the NFT (non-fungible token). Over the past few years, this digital art form has become a sort of trophy for some and investment for others. Regardless, many, including Biles, have seized the opportunity to have the best of both worlds by creating personalized and purchasable NFTs of their own (@SIMONEBILES).
In late August 2021, Biles announced her partnership with sport’s NFT platform Autograph.io to release her first set of NFTs. In her first collection, Biles released over 100,00 NFTs for fans and NFT fanatics alike to purchase (Beer, 2021). The first wave of the collection included 5 different Premier NFTs, each ranging in rarity and starting at a price of $12. The 3 rarest NFTs in the collection, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, all consist of a sleek black-and-white photo of Biles against a black background, the picture rimmed and stamped with an artfully designed SB logo of respective color of the NFT.
Later within the same week, Biles released an even smaller selection of similar, yet exclusive signed collectable NFTs. The most rare and exquisite of the collection, a Simone Biles Ruby Signed NFT, only had 12 editions released and were sold for a total of $100,000. Biles further expanded her collection in mid-November 2021, releasing 16,000 NFTs in her High Score Collection. This collection characterized by 16-bit digital art of Bile’s most iconic gymnastics elements dropped for early access on November 16th and public access on November 18th (Axson, 2021). Those who purchased the any of the $30 NFTs will not be able to see which specific art piece purchased until the reveal on November 23 (Simone, 2021).
Those who want to purchase any of Biles’s NFTs can either do so through sports betting website Draft Kings or purchase directly from Draft Kings NFT platform, Autograph.io (Beer, 2021). This platform, created in mid-August of 2021, specializes primarily on the creation of NFTs for some of the world’s most premier athletes such as Simone Biles, Wayne Gretzky, Tony Hawk, Naomi Osaka, and co-founder Tom Brady. Brady and Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder of Autograph.io and serial entrepreneur, “created Autograph as a way for fans and collectors to own a piece of iconic moments in sports and entertainment through authenticated and official digital collectibles” and plan to continue this quest as they strive to bring more athlete’s personal collections to the platform (Rapoza, 2021).
Autograph.io, however, does not mint each NFT on its own. The company partnered with Polygon to mint each NFT. Each on is centered around Polygon’s MATIC token on what was formerly known as their Matic Network. Polygon’s framework strives to build on the successes of other more well-known NFT platform’s such as Ethereum and stands out in its attempts to be a stronger platform in areas where other NFT platforms are weaker. Furthermore, the platform continually finds areas for improvement, tweaking its systems to create the best possible blockchain experience. As stated by Daniel Phillips, writer for cryptocurrency news source Decrypt, “Rather than being a simple scaling solution like its predecessor Matic Network… Polygon is designed to be an entire platform designed for launching interoperable blockchains… developers can launch preset blockchain networks with attributes tailored to their needs” (Phillips, 2021).
The rise of the NFT in today’s time is an indication of a new era emerging. Although some might predict that it would most effectively shift to the financial sector as an investment opportunity and others might predict its impact on the way artists trade their work, the NFTs created and owned by people in all areas of life from casual collectors to high-end athletes show that this new form is an infinite world of possibilities from digital tokens to everyone’s new favorite trading card. Only time will tell how the mighty NFT will end up.
Axson, Scooby. 2021 “Olympic champion Simone Biles to release new batch of NFTs inspired by her groundbreaking moves.” USA Today, November 15, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2021/11/15/simone-biles-olympics-nft-collection-iconic-moves/8616523002/
Beer, Tommy. 2021. “Simone Biles To Release Her First NFT Collection Tuesday, Cashing In On Booming Market.” Forbes, August 30, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2021/08/30/simone-biles-to-release-her-first-nft-collection-tuesday-cashing-in-on-booming-market/?sh=7698309d3b90
Phillips, Daniel. 2021. “What is Polygon (MATIC) and Why It Matters for Ethereum.” Decrypt, March 11, 2021. https://decrypt.co/resources/what-is-polygon-matic-and-why-it-matters-for-ethereum
Rapoza, Kenneth. 2021. “Why Tom Brady’s NFT Platform, Autograph, Is Going To Be ‘Fire’.” Forbes, August 29, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2021/08/29/why-tom-bradys-nft-platform-autograph-is-going-to-be-fire/?sh=681c16fe6f22
“@SIMONEBILES.” Autograph.io. https://go.autograph.io/simonebiles
“SIMONE BILES HIGH SCORE COLLECTION.” Autograph.io, November 11, 2021. https://blog.autograph.io/details/618db0d2ce0f5d0015ac45b3/post